In Washington, Golf Becomes a Handicap

Oregon Republican Sen. Gordon Smith is one of Capitol Hill's most enthusiastic and skillful golfers - so much so that he made Golf Digest's 2005

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Oregon Republican Sen. Gordon Smith is one of Capitol Hill's most enthusiastic and skillful golfers - so much so that he made Golf Digest's 2005 list of Washington's Top 200 Golfers.


But Gordo's name is missing from the 2007 list. Smith, whose handicap was given as 4.5 in 2005, told the magazine he hadn't been playing enough last year to determine his handicap - too busy campaigning for re-election.

Overall, the Washington golf scene has changed quite a bit since 2005, Golf Digest reports: "Ethics legislation passed in 2007 has curtailed the kind of 'let-me-explain-my-issue' rounds that enabled congressional staffers to play in groups co-hosted by lobbyists on Friday afternoons. As a result of a ban imposed on gifts and services, lobbyists have to pay thousands of dollars to play in elected officials' fund-raisers to spend time with them on the golf course - hardly a bonding opportunity." Also, the storm of scandals swirling around Jack Abramoff and other lobbyists has created "a greater-than-ever hesitancy among golfers to admit they play."

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